Life Long Learning

All too often, business owners and managers implement training as a one-off occurrence rather than committing to an ongoing training plan. Paula Irvine explores the idea that achieving financial goals is tightly linked to establishing a learning culture within the business.

Recognising that training is an essential element of achieving financial success is probably the first step for an agency to create a culture of learning in the office.

One of the most important aspects of the real estate business is the journey of learning. Alvin Toffler once said, The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.

For some, the journey of learning has been marred by negative memories of school. For many people school was looked upon as a mandatory journey that had to be taken from our earliest years. For others, tertiary studies were also looked upon as means to an end rather than an experience to help us grow into more alert and resourceful human beings.

For most school students, the good memories from school (friends, games played and sports) have been overshadowed by bad ones, such as overcrowded classrooms, inattentive and disruptive students.

In short, it was a system that did not cater for the needs of the individual, or did not foster an environment in which students were encouraged to learn and enjoy the experience and rewards that come with learning. As a result, many students were left feeling that they were ill prepared for further learning, or the disciplines they needed for entry into the workplace.

Training: it’s a commitment
Is your team ready to commit to continual learning? Think of the changes we have to contend with and relearn as part of our quest to conduct our real estate businesses effectively and competitively:

  • Technology, which is changing on an almost daily basis.
  • Legislation is constantly changing to meet new and different requirements. These legislative changes may relate to our own practice of real estate or to major general business legislative changes that have a total impact on the management of our businesses, such as taxation, employment, work place health and safety, and superannuation.
  • Consumer protection and ethical business practices are today a paramount consideration when running all types of business especially real estate. Today’s real estate business owners must have strategies in place to ensure that information and training is provided to staff so that they are trained and equipped to deal with and implement these changes as they occur.

However, the implementation of the information and changes can only be achieved successfully when agency employees and contractors understand the importance of essential changes and are confident enough to integrate these changes into their agency practices.

Understanding and implementing changes will require new policies and procedures into the agency. The implementation of the new policy and procedures will only happen when staff are trained and educated in the following areas:

  • Why the policies and procedures exist
  • The advantage of policies and procedures, systems and strategies
  • How these policies and procedures are implemented
  • The importance of on-going monitoring of the policies and procedures.

In today’s real estate workplace, a well-trained agency team is a necessity, not a luxury. In fact, the most successful businesses today put a strong focus on creating a workplace learning environment in order to create an expert team of salespeople and property managers.

Include training in the business plan
The majority of well-run real estate businesses will have a strategic business plan. This business plan will address financial and personal goals and the process involved in reaching these goals. Very rarely, however, do we see a business plan that embraces the training of staff as part of the process of achieving these financial goals.

Recognising that training is an essential element of achieving financial success is probably the first step for an agency to create a culture of learning in the office. As well as enabling the business to achieve profitability through learning, there are some other significant outcomes in creating a positive and progressive learning culture within the agency, such as:

  • Empowering the individual
  • Creating a team culture
  • Motivating the individual and the team to learn

To create a culture of learning the agency principal needs to make a commitment for ongoing learning which, in turn, creates the desired sales and property management team – a team committed to life long learning.

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Paula Irvine

Paula is a well respected Real Estate agent with over 25 years of practical experience across the industry and property training. Paula is the RTO Manager at Harcourts Academy.